You can find Part 1 here.
The diagnosis: Auditory Processing Disorder or, APD (I can’t help put look at that and instantly think Anchorage Police Department).
In short, I do not always process sound correctly. I have a harder time hearing what’s said if there’s much background noise, if the speaker is not looking at me, is behind me or is in another room. It is most likely hereditary as my father also has similar issues and I catch myself saying the same things he used to say to me, “speak up!”, “look at me when you’re talking”, “all I hear is ‘me-me-me-me'”. The list goes on and on. However, this could simply be from an one or all of the concussions I’ve had since the age of 19. Really, if it’s the doing of a concussion, it would be from the car accident I was in at 19 (where my head shattered the rear windshield of a hatchback- yes I was a backseat passenger).
Or at least I’d like to believe that to be the case. Because, once upon a time, I was an auditory learner. I ate up lectures in class and retained what I learned well that way. Now, I’m a visual learner. I often feel frustrated with books on cd as there is usually a distraction in the background I can’t block out, like road noise. And this frustration can translate to my everyday life with my family. That frustration turns to crankiness when the people around me who know I’m hearing impaired and know what it is I need from them, decline to actually follow through and do it. And that’s not the only way my life has changed.
I used to be a light sleeper. A really light sleeper. I used to live in a Gawd-Awful section of Anchorage called “Mountainview”. There was a meth dealer just 3 buildings down from where I lived. More than once I was woken to the sound of gun fire outside. It was a really, really sketchy neighborhood.
Within months of adopting Freya, I began to sleep deeper at night. I knew I could relax and not be on alert all the time because she was on duty. She was my ears, alerting me to anything I might need to know. A knock at the door, a stranger outside, Dude getting into something as a baby. I came to rely on her for this and soon, it was just a natural part of how we worked together. I could rest easy because she was there, able to hear what I couldn’t.
My life without Freya has been empty. Those around me just accepted her as an extension of myself. In so many ways she functioned as my assistance dog, without me really recognizing it, and without the formal training and certification. Obviously, Copper isn’t going to fill this role as he can’t be bothered to tell me when someone’s at the door.
These last weeks without her have been very challenging. I haven’t slept well because I can’t hear what’s going on outside. And we’re in a new place with new sounds. Copper only barks when he wants something. He won’t bark at a knock at the door, at a stranger in the house, nothing. I discovered this the hard way when some neighbor kids wanted to play with Dude a few days after moving here.
My anxiety and restlessness over not being able to hear was also getting to BP. And so, something had to be done.
To be continued…